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by W. Eric Martin

• This week I’m doing final preparation for both NY Toy Fair and FIJ in Cannes, France, with the GAMA Trade Show poking its head up in the background and also demanding attention. Avalanche!

One of the companies that unveils its entire line for the year at NY Toy Fair is U.S. publisher Gamewright, which features mostly mainstream-friendly titles along with a few games that will also make a splash with the BGG audience. The splashiest title in Gamewright’s 2019 line-up is undoubtedly Sushi Roll, a dice-based version of Phil Walker-Harding‘s Sushi Go!. Here’s a quick take on this 2-5 player game that plays in 20 minutes and bears a Q2 2019 release date:

Rice and dice! Roll with your favorite Sushi Go! characters in Sushi Roll. Load up the conveyor belts with savory sushi dice —­­­­ then pick one and pass the rest! Earn points for winning combos like two tempura or a set of sashimi. Grab a menu to re-roll your dice or use chopsticks to swap with an opponent. Be sure to save room for pudding at the end!

• Along similar lines, Gamewright is releasing Rat-a-Tat Roll in Q3 2019, this being a dice-based version of its long-lived Rat-a-Tat Cat card game, which is a souped-up version of the public domain card game Golf. An overview:

Roll around the world with Rat-a-Tat Roll. Move around the board trying to collect low cards (cats) while avoiding high cards (rats). Choose one, two, or three dice, keeping re-roll tokens handy in case you miss your mark. All along, look out for peeks, swaps, and especially the chancy “wild” spots where things could really get dicey! Get the lowest score and win!

• Gamewright typically releases one or two real-time pattern recognition games each year, and for 2019 there’s Guju Guju from designer and artist Ariel Yi Chi Chang. We recorded an overview of this game at SPIEL ’17 with the designer on the original version of the game, but if you want the description in words, here it is: Start with a number of fruit cards face up on the table, then divide the other cards equally among the players. On a turn, a player names one of the four types of fruit in the game, then flips over a card from their deck onto a face-up card of this type. If they reveal the same type of fruit that they named, everyone races to cover all of these fruits with cards from their personal deck. Whoever rids their hand of cards first wins!

Youtube Video

Twin It! from designers Nathalie Saunier, Rémi Saunier, and Thomas Vuarchex is another real-time game, one that first appeared from Cocktail Games in 2017, with Gamewright having debuted its version at PAX Unplugged in November 2018.

Twin It! features 135 double-sided cards with 119 wild op art patterns on them, and with the front of a card never matching the back. You can play multiple games with the deck, and the basic one is a standard pattern-recognition twitch game. Divide the deck among all the players. Either taking turns or at whatever pace they wish, players flip cards into the center of the table. As soon as you spot a pair of matching images, race to place an index finger on each member of the pair to claim it.

Many images are close to one another, but not identical, so don’t be fooled! You can form matches with the top card of a player’s deck, so keep your eye on those as well because a matching card can be flipped out of sight if the deck-holder plays it to the table. Some patterns appear three times instead of only two, so even if you’ve claimed a pair, you might find it snatched away from you if the third image turns up and someone else spots the match first. Whoever claims five pairs first wins.

I’ve played Twin It! a half-dozen times on a review copy from Gamewright, and the images from Vuarchex, co-designer of Jungle Speed, add a lot to the game. Your eyes start bugging out from the psychedelic visuals! The game also has a team version in which you win a pair only if you place a finger on one of the cards and your teammates places their finger on the other one.

• Other titles coming from Gamewright include This Games Goes to Eleven, in which you ditch cards to a central pile, trying to hit a sum of 11 to pass off cards to others and empty your hand; Bloom, a dice-rolling game in which you collect flowers and try not to pass good dice to others; Punto, in which players try to create lines of 4-5 cards but are restricted in how they can play them; Whozit?, a party game in which you try to get teammates to guess a celebrity target based on how well certain people would do certain tasks; and Hello My Name Is, a party game in which you play trait cards, then race to name someone (whether real or fictional) who fits those traits.

Note that This Games Goes to Eleven premiered in 2018 as a title exclusive to the U.S. retail chain Target and is now receiving a wide retail release.


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